From being the LVMH prize winner finalist, 29-year old Nigerian designer Kenneth Ize has gone to making an astonishing debut at Paris Fashion Week on February 24, 2020. The show closed in style with Naomi Campbell who walked out wearing a striped trench coat dress. Kenneth Ize’s collection, which featured clean lines and structured silhouettes is heavily influenced by traditional West African fabrics such as the aso oke cloth woven by the Yoruba people of Nigeria. He has made a name for himself by re-imagining this fabric into various modern and stylish intepretations.
“I am living my dream,” Ize said to reporters backstage after the show on the opening night of the fashion week.”
“Naomi made this happen. She has been part of the journey since day one. She is very supportive. She is my fairy godmother,” he proclaimed with so much excitement. Previously, Naomi had also walked the runway for Kenneth Ize at Arise Fashion Week in 2019.
He also mentioned to the Associated Press that he is inspired by the bold fashion worn by people at the Catholic services he attended along with his mother when he was a child.
Kenneth Ize first launched his label in 2013 at Lagos Fashion Week after which he placed it on pause to attend the University of Vienna for two years where he received a masters in Fashion design. Afterwards, he was shortlisted as a finalist for the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVHM) Prize alongside Thebe Magugu from South Africa from out of a whopping 1,700 applicants.
Given to a young designer and three fashion school graduates every year, the prestigious LVMH Prize was established to honour and support young fashion designers around the world. According to the short bio on his profile on the LVHM prize website, Kenneth Ize focuses on creating new interpretations of Nigerian craftsmanship. By working with a commuity of weavers and artisans across the country, the label is able to merge local artisanship and contemporary design aesthetics with modern methods of production.
When it comes to designers of Black/African descent on the catwalk, Kenneth Ize is definitely one to watch. His name has been on the lips of many ever since he stepped into the global fashion scene. The Fall/Winter collection from Kenneth Ize is truly beautiful to behold. Here are some favourites from the ready-to-wear showcase highlighted below.
What do you like the most about the looks from this collection?